A Tidal Wave For Child Health — Over 750 Young People Join Community Food Champions
Over the past four weeks, we have welcomed hundreds of fantastic young people to the Bite Back movement, as we launched Community Food Champions across the country! Community Food Champions is our newest programme, which uses youth work to drive grassroots change to help ensure all young people, no matter where they live, have access to healthy, nutritious food.
Over 750 young people will take part across six locations — Peterborough, Leeds, London, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle. They’ll work in groups with their youth workers to find out what’s going on in their local communities and what changes they would like to see to make it easier to eat healthily. But it won’t end there! Our Community Food Champions will create a big impact, designing and running social action campaigns to achieve these changes, talking to local political and business leaders who can support their goals.
Across the four launch events in Peterborough, Leeds, London and Newcastle, groups came together with their youth workers and with the Bite Back and UK Youth teams to build excitement and learn about Bite Back and our mission as well as to have an opportunity for activities, fun and food! It was also a chance for these new recruits to hear from some of the brilliant experienced young campaigners from Bite Back, to inspire the Community Food Champions as they set off on their own journeys to transform the food system in their communities.
Alex, age 17, has been a campaigner with Bite Back 2030 since 2020 and joined us in Leeds — here’s what he had to say about the event:
“The Community Food Champions event was amazing. It was such a fantastic opportunity to meet young people from a wide range of different backgrounds that all share the same common goal. Removing junk food from deprived communities and making healthy food the priority.”
After the launch events the groups will go through a series of workshops that will help them understand more about the impact of the lack of access to healthy food in their communities. As part of these workshops they’ll keep a food diary showing us what young people today eat and visit local food shops in their area to log the prices of some basic staple items.
We know that the prices of food and drink change enormously depending on where we live — and this isn't fair. With the help of the insights from our Community Food Champions we want to create a nationwide report showing how young people's access to healthy food is impacted by price, especially as the cost of living rises.
In November, we’ll come back together for pitch events across the country, where our Community Food Champions will present their insights and campaign plans to an audience of local political leaders, business owners and creatives. The groups will receive feedback on their plans as well as the chance to secure additional funding to bring their idea to life. Following the pitch event, £500 will be awarded to allow some of the groups to bring their ideas to life — developing and implementing their campaigns and create impact in their local community.
Bite Back and UK Youth staff will guide and support the youth organisations and groups over nine months to help them to achieve their campaign goals. The campaigns rolled out will vary from group to group, depending on the issues identified in each group’s local community. We will share more on Community Food Champions and the exciting campaign ideas being developed very — so stay tuned!
The Community Food Champions programme is run in partnership with UK Youth, and it is funded by the #iwill Fund (a joint investment between The National Lottery Community Fund and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and Impact on Urban Health.